Testimony - Michael Dunlap
In April of 2011 my oldest son John and I entered the Discipleship Program because we were soon to be homeless. I knew very quickly that this was where God wanted me and He had led me here. For John it was just the opposite. After two weeks he wanted to leave.
Four years previously Jonathan came very close to dying from septic shock. He was in ICU for nine days. Since then he has had seizures, I have watched over him pretty much 24/7. He and I were very close. His almost dying brought us even closer. When he decided to leave the Dream Center, I went with him still feeling that I had to watch over him.
Two months later I was still unemployed and back to drinking heavily to hide from my problems. John and I got into an argument and some very hurtful things were said. I realized that it was time to go our separate ways.
In June I returned to the Dream Center where I knew I was supposed to be. The first month was very difficult. I felt like I needed to leave and rescue John. He would try to call me, but I was afraid he would talk me into leaving.
Through much prayer and Godly council, I finally was able to accept that I needed to turn John over to Godís care. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has a plan for each of us, a plan for good. Peace was given to me when I realized that God had a plan for John. I probably was getting in His way when I always came to his rescue.
On September 23rd I felt strong enough in my Christian walk to talk with John. What a change in his voice! It had been a long time since I had heard him so positive. I knew that God was moving in his heart and that the seed that was planted during his short stay at the Dream Center was sprouting. He sounded excited. He had made arrangements to move into a Christian half-way house the next day.
I apologized for my part in the fight we had had last June. We talked awhile, and I told him I would call on Sunday. ďGoodnight and I love you.Ē I then sat down, cried and thanked God for answered prayers.
Sunday came and I almost did not call, but God put it on my to do what I said. God knows when something is important. Everything is a part of His plan. When I called, he sounded happy, and was busy doing his chores and making friends with the other men in the house. We talked a while and then I read Jeremiah 29:11 to him. He told me that he had read that same scripture last night. Then he asked what I thought about getting baptized. I encouraged him to do so. I said good night and hung up. I thanked God again for answered prayers. I did not know that His answer was different from what I had prayed.
A few hours later Jonathan died from a seizure caused by too much medication prescribed for kidney stones. At 1:30 in the morning, Nathan, my youngest son, called and told me what had happened. He picked me up and we went over to the home where Jonathan was staying.
While we waited for the Medical Examiner to do her job, our family waited in the living room. The Holy Spirit moved me to say a prayer for Jonathan. I donít remember what I said, but when I looked over at Nathan, he was crying. I gave him a hug and we continued to wait.
The next day Nathan and I were going through Johnís things, packing them up and deciding where things should go. I wanted my grandchildren to have something from their father. Nathan told me that when he was crying the night before, it was not for his brother, but because it was the first time I had ever prayed with him!
Nathan and Kim, his wife, had been praying for my salvation for many years. The changes that God has brought to my life are answers to their prayers.
My faith in our Father God was strengthened during the days after the loss of my son. My prayers for Jonathan were answered as I know that he had let Jesus into his heart. I believe and accept that Godís plans are sometimes beyond our understanding, but they are always for our good.
I have completed my program at Dream Center, and am now on staff at the Discipleship. My faith in God has brought me great peace. Though we face difficult trials, God will use them to teach us what we need to learn. I wake up each day with a smile knowing that the day will shine because God is now the focus of my life. I thank Him for bringing me to the Dream Center and for all that He is doing in my life. I look forward to the plan that He has for me, now that He is in the driverís seat. God bless you. Amen.